>> i have been at el eliot bay books many times but never seen the secret part. i saw some offices and where are we? the middle of capitol hill or something. nice to see you guys. i am ken jennings. i think what we will do is i will talk a little bit about the book. i don't know how this will go but i will do an impromptu geography quiz.
it is pretty fun when we turn this into a game show. i don't know how c-span will think of that but we will do a geography quiz and see how it goes and then i will sign the book. hopefully it will not be as long as it sounds because when i go to book signing by like it when the author airs on the side of getting me home in time for -- >> "jeopardy!" >> any jokes aiken finish? you have to yell it out. i will set the up and you cannot come down. my name is ken. the book is "maphead". it sounds like a 12 stepping. it is true. i am a fan of maps in all their forms. maybe -- anybody here a map head? name and then your name is with initials? the book was born out of and experience a couple years ago.
going through my parents' garage which was a huge pile of books. everyone's parents's garages is a huge pile but my parents's garage looks like raiders of the lost ark. it is huge. my mom said it sound like one more box of mine. i went through the pile trying to find it and opened it up and pulling stuff out and it was a time capsule like high school and my childhood. comic books and mixed tapes. you won't know what that is. at the bottom was a green hammond world atlas 1978. there was this weird moment for me. i hadn't seen it. it was like finding your beloved stuffed animal at the bottom of a box. this was a meaningful childhood companion. i saved all my allowance when i was 7 or 8 to buy this at less. at that time i was a total math
nerd. i could look at it for hours. i would read at lesses for pleasure the way more normal kid would be reading clifford the big red dog. i would be paging through the atlas. it was an amazing moment of connection to see this after so much time and i realized many years in the closet as "maphead". you realize as you get older that liking geography a lot -- you realize it is a liability rather than an asset to. people don't talk a lot about how they love looking at maps. but as our started writing the book people would ask what i was working on and i would apologetically say to friends that it was a book about maps. like that would not really
justify -- like what? amazing how many people were like a lover's! are you kidding? many people, i love maps. like they were aware of the social consequences. of being part cargo file. i have a roommate coming in to our apartment at the beginning of the semester, named sheldon. he was actually named sheldon and he had on the walls national geographic maps. i spent my child looking at them. i should have been over the man at this. instead, we are never going to see a girl in here. it became the second least desirable or attractive person in the apartment. very exciting for me. i was not true to my "maphead"
routes and this was a pleasure because i did get to meet with a lot of people who were geographically geeky hobbies. i got to hang out in the bulk of the library of congress which is very cool like three football fields of cabinets full of maps. the library and took me around, here's a map of a plantation in virginia. george washington drew it. this amazing treasure trove. and people using the gps revolution -- multimillion-dollar military satellites to find tupperware hidden in the woods. pacific northwest creation in portland. the company that maintains the web site last year -- who else did i get to hang out with?
national geographic kids. washington, more than any other state. these kids are amazing. it was like a middle school. i did a little geography quiz with them. a girl in redmond who won a couple years ago and for a fun i gave her a list of geography questions some of which i got right and some i did not get right hand she was amazing. she got one wrong and i got half of them wrong. kids are amazing. i started to see as i hung out with people like this people into maps, fantasy world and road geeks' obsessed with the interstate system, systematic travelers like people who go to every starbucks or country or half point. people with a lifelong checklist of places they must set one toe in and head back to the airport. what occurred to me is their modern-day explorers. airborne too late.
they were born in a world that is already explored. maps are not as fun as they used to be when there were big spaces full of sea serpents and cannibals. we have been everywhere. the only places left are the places that stock. there's a reason to antarctica is blank on the map. the things we map now we are mapping the stars and the human genome but these are people who miss the time when you could map something that would surround you. territory your location or place you could explore. they reinvent exploration by making old places new. they hide in tupperware in city parks endlessly and they draw maps of new fantastic places and lose themselves in antique maps they are collecting. these are the equivalent of modern-day explores and fascinating to spend time with
them. i am going to read a short segment. where i am in your chair i will distract this. and won't speed read or anything but a brief section from chapter 4 of "maphead" one i am a out at the library of congress. place names hold a special appeal. as long as i love the maps i have been enthusiastic economists. a student of place names. maps that are baron and lonely to me. what could be more forward than one of those maps in the region, extra years of corn with industry or agriculture. these abominations make kids hate geography. names are the institutions that bring a map to like. there is poetry and a coastline but personality in oaxaca. he agreed with me in the atlas
that was labeled the imaginary southern and confident with terror australia with cape of the good signal in swedish river. no one had been to the nonexistent places but it was either that or leave a land mass suspiciously naked. i see obsolete map labels like hagen and ceylon and british honduras. their names are a conduit to my childhood and school cafeteria or piano line from an exercise farm. i find my vacations around places like land fair, quinn drove, whales near the white hazel next to the whirlpool on the red tape. and get my picture taken during a trip to thailand next to the sign at bangkok's city hall full of 163 letter names. names don't have to belong to be memorable. you can visit all the lanes and
villages like any hill. scratchy bottom, with wayne, cox play. the eccentric folksy roadside history, cheese quake, new jersey, ding dong, texas. most of these came by their names honestly. cheese quake is a corrupting of an indian word meaning up in the village. ding dong was named for a ringing bell in bell carry the. the scene too good to be true because they are. take a 58 letter welsh village that i won't say again. plain old land fair pull when an enterprising local taylor gave it the longer name as a publicity stunt to bring in forest. maybe they needed to buy a vowel. the spiritual ancestor of desperate american towns that sold their souls by renaming themselves for celebrities. sometimes contest winning names
stick. in new mexico, still called true for consequences after the game show went off of the air. the former pennsylvania town will be called jim floridian as long as there are non olympians. more often than not the new name states would be -- half way oregon after the sellout. joe montana at, such gimmicky names, they go their own way. that is their secret on the side of melt rushmore. in 2005 the tiny hamlet of kentucky turned $1,000 by changing to pokershare.com. name notoriety can be a double-edged sword. and taking the ohio school computer lab, bar code hold road, can be pierce told the daily mail that the name was a big draw when he first moved and couldn't believe people were moving out because they didn't
like the name but the novelty with the endless stream of praying calls and skeptical delivery drivers and busloads of tourists taking pictures while manning the street side. the street was in for a communal rain barrel located on the history didn't matter. in 2009 the neighbors collected the 300 lb fee and the city changed the name to the distinctive archer's way. hard for americans to understand the patriotism bound up in place names. we are a young country and accustomed to their cowboy fashions to everything around it so we can afford to -- the gulf of mexico is not called the gulf of america. according to library of congress that is the pet issue of a frequent complaint on geographic names. if america announced she was changing her first name to canada we would be ok with it. we would get on with our lives but elsewhere it is national identity. the western atlas in korea always has the word sea of japan
blacked out and the korean name hand a letter below. and the newly independent republic of macedonia, historically was a region of ancient greece that was blackballed in 2008. jihadists rhetoric is out of iran after the 2004 edition of the national geographic atlas of world added to the persian gulf is small current federal reading, arabian gulf. iranian went bonkers. and the influence of the u.s. and zionist lobby the society has distorted a historical reality. all national geographic publications were banned from iran. resourceful internet users from national geographic found e-mails but hundreds of angry reviews and google bombs the phrase arabian gulf. the top would result of the phrase is now a mock error page reading the golf you're looking
for does not exist. national geographic made the correction. tensions in the gulf are running high over the issue. iran created a national persian gulf day to celebrate the nomenclature and cancel the islamic solidarity and objected to the phrase persian gulf and even threatened to ban any airline that doesn't use the right name on the label. the closest american equivalent is the way we use places to convert insiders or outsider status. in the manhattan forced to ask for avenue of the americas. the official renaming is such a mouthful that new yorkers -- or pronounced having street liked the city in texas. the magic names of the tacoma suburb to the largest state and the retirement mecca on the olympic peninsula. to pronounce the names like sequent brand themselves the clueless tourist or california transplant. i could tell you the real
pronunciation but under washington state law i would have to kill you. the pronunciation and gave away by doing it out loud. you have to imagine that. one thing that struck me is the headlines you hear about geography are scary ones about how a percentage of college students can't find canada on a map or can't find their but with both hands. the fact those guidelines exist is a sign that some part of our culture believes geographic knowledge is important. it is an important part of cultural literacy. this vast untapped good will towards the geography. i like to think they are slides we are living may be in a new golden age for maps. maybe in the age of google earth and real time mapping of traffic and weather and smart phones showing you where your friends are and all the amazing mapping innovations of the last ten
years, mapping has been around for centuries but this will create a new golden age where maps miraculously appear to be as exciting and sexy to the average person as for whatever reason they always appeared to me. that is my hope. that is the hope of "maphead". should we do a geography quiz? here is my plan. i have my magic bag a copy of "maphead" to give away. and the ken jennings bobblehead. extremely rare. the other lack of demand for them. people say they're not exist in girlfriend from canada. this was made in canada as a promotional item for the trivia game and no one wanted them but me but i have a garage full.
for anyone who answered the question right i asked my wife what candy we should have and she said nerds. that is very sweet. thank you. so i think my plan in so far as i have one. i have done this before and it works pretty well. if you don't answer shout it out. if you are quick, i hope your quick because if nerds are heading at your head. this is not a part of the event this week. i was talking about visions from kentucky. this is a time you have to be alert. after we do a short number of these we will meet for our most gifted geographically -- people have been in the preliminaries and a few finalist to delay final round. for example i would read a question like this and you yell out the answer. might be something like in what state is lake okechobee?
over here first. in the front row. don't try out my arm. don't answer in the form of a question. you are already stepping "jeopardy!" tonight. nobody is really missing it. "jeopardy!" had stories about alex trebek showing up at a signing in barnes and noble around this time and outrage, why are you here? who is hosting "jeopardy!"? everything is under control. what country's longest river is the whar. i heard over here. your neighbors are out there. which canadian province is wild road country? over here somewhere. what was it? beard? thanks for the cooperation. until 1995 what was the english
name of india's most populous city? i heard bombay and calcutta. it is actually bomb bay. the current mumbai -- very early adopter of bombay. right here. thank you for not getting ahead. don't know what the liability issues are. in what country -- as soon as you know it yell it out. they larue, barack, bali? somewhere. front row. very nice. if you scale of 3,000 ft. of capital and what national park? over here somewhere? british airways. traveled to north from anywhere in texas what state do you enter
first? you in the red shirt. this is going very well. what is europe's tallest volcano? anyone want to try? where was it? over here? right here. i didn't miss that. that is impressive. the judges are keeping an eye on you. what country's most important export is austria? here you go. nice to see you. thanks for coming out. that was sort of tough. separate not gender specific, which is the nation of the former yugoslavia is a member of the e you? >> romania! >> right here. very nice. where are ellsworthland and --
somewhere -- way in the back. one row. what city has sugarloaf? front row. very nice. that was a terrible throw. that is not an error. cleveland, which of the great lakes? somebody here was quick to. you again, sir. you don't want to be in front of him. i feel your pain. what canadian territory is named our land? right over here. someone first. there's a rebellion over here. the dardanelles connect the mediterranean with what other --
right here? the four large islands of japan which is farthest north? we are "jeopardy!" co-conspirators. seattle's best "jeopardy!" -- the best "jeopardy!" contestants on the house tonight. how are you doing? [applause] >> we are playing for money instead of nerd you are playing very well. the fix might be in. the lesser antilles or abc
island. somebody said aruba. a better throw than last time and almost killed the person behind you. what did the romans called hibernia? i heard it first. tom. the guy next to tom. you two fight over it. the world's largest desert is not the sarah. and arctic as somebody said. technically speaking, that guy will be eating nerds all night. the definition of a desert scientifically nothing but the amount of precipitation and it is too cold. what densely populated island is due south -- hong kong is there somewhere. will you pass that back to hong kong? i am getting a good sense of who our final five are. what country's most visited
tourist attraction is the city of petra? aaron brown. one of my friends who i found out after writing the book was a map nerd. thanks for coming. until a few months ago what was the largest country by area in africa? sedan. that might have been tom. last question. what specific country's largest island is the key level? somebody said fiji. i think our finalist has got to be right here. probably right there. may be right here. got two. come on. i skipped a few people. you did very good. there were many -- come on up.
[applause] i guess this mike doesn't move. tell me your name starting on the end. where are you from? and now living in the area. you didn't come all the way just for this from spokane? right from residents. thanks for coming. you drove all the way up for this. i am sure these guys are excited about the book coming out. i thought you might. a guy from mountain view who answers map questions like he has seen the answers. may have that on his smart phone right now. i am going to read the questions slowly. say your name. establish who is first and give the answer.
we will do ten questions. first question. early explorers also called the platte river by the name -- >> in nebraska. >> the answer is nebraska. but the name of what u.s. state? very nice. you just lucked out. one point in the middle for frank. what country's largest cities are conception? >> chilly. >> i don't think -- i am impressed. did you think i would say your name? zero 20. what u.s. state has a capital city with a three word name? it is the right answer.
and frank. you don't work for microsoft. you are trying to do that. it didn't work. what name is shared by the tallest mountain in cyprus and alex trebek -- and greece? nice timing. chris on the board. it may be over. which was the only one of the 13 original u.s. states not to touch the atlantic? pennsylvania. good. you are on the board. still anybody's game at the half. which african country administers the enclave of cabinda? >> barack. >> it is not. you don't get one -- >> algeria. >> and goal. just north of an goal.
the island of know via zambia is the northernmost extent of what mountain? chris is in first. what mountain range? sorry. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. this is an exhibition i say to you. keep the answer to yourself. am i thinking about this right? question 7? the bears no correct answer -- i don't want to question your mouth. you two can talk at this point. answer every remaining question. which is this point? i have granted this before. which is the span of central asia is surrounded -- i think you were first. it was not answered by john.
you were next. that is correct. you are still in it. please keep your answers to yourself. what is the sea of cortez? >> the gulf of california. >> 3-4-1. it all comes down to that. how many oil nations have the word guinea in their name? >> two. >> correct. >> three. >> three is not correct. is four. [applause] >> i will give you the rest of the nerds but there's only one left. only one more question. in what city is the at the
river? frank. i tried to help you. let's give these guys a big hand. [applause] very impressive. we will do -- does anybody have any questions? what are the four guineas? guinea, guinea-bissau, editorial guinea, apple and new guinea. they are all the hard ones. any questions not about countries? >> how is your favorite dog? >> sort of famous mentioned in the jacket copy. i have a labrador retriever who could not be with us tonight but is getting more stable with age. the same -- pretty awesome in our dog. any other questions? >> tell us about your
explanation. >> my education? i sort of screw up a lot in school. that is not what you want to hear. i was originally from seattle and moved overseas when i was 7 or 8. my dad got a job in a law firm and korea so i went to international school there and attended university of washington and utah. i have a degree in english and computer science. a very happy english major who decided it would be nice to pay the bills from time to time. what is the difference between a large pizza and an english major? the pizza can feed a family of four. i majored computer science and working as a programmer when i got the call to be on jeopardy and thanks to "jeopardy!" i am a writer and it has been great.
>> did you know the answer to the last question or just tired of being on "jeopardy!"? >> i got to say it is the worst conspiracy theory ever. you ever quit a job where you are getting 60 k and our or something? very high retention. if you were going to tell me, spend some time. i have heard it. they are all easy if you know the man never easy for you don't. no matter what is a. i promise i didn't. lee harvey act alone. i did not throw "jeopardy!". too much respect for alex trebek to ever do that. any other questions? i do live in the area.
i am local. >> e.u. -- [inaudible] >> i did see who asked. it is one to a customer. you get one loss. i got a and fairly nice chance anyway. i got to go back last year when ibm had the supercomputer. is possible at some future point that google will teach me how to play "jeopardy!" and i will be back. >> good recommendations for a good nonfiction story? >> i have been working on a little something. that was going to be the second reading. your the first ever to mention flash fiction on c-span. >> i will make you offend some people. to you use map quest for google
maps? >> i don't see bumper stickers--who would be offended if i don't use a big as a verb? all these map technologies are great. i all lead use google. >> what tips do you have for retaining the most knowledge possible? >> tips for knowledge retention for a knowledgeable team member. >> when people ask how i know all that stuff i feel like i don't have a good answer. i don't have a system or a tie in book that i can direct them to. most "jeopardy!" people would say they got on the show not through a system weekend of cramming but a lifetime of being a curious person. very aware of the world and omnivorous. not just most people where we could easily remember the stuff we are into the the other stuff
goes in one ear and out the other. whatever the secret is make them interested in everything. i don't know. if by some miracle you become a person interested in everything and always have something to connect it to. you will want to know it and probably like having it in your head to tie on to. it won't fall through the cracks. a couple more questions. >> gender question. i understand the geography nationals is predominately boys as opposed to the spelling bee which is predominantly girls. any observation? >> the possibility of a gender gap in geography knowledge and map reading. if you ever heard any stand-up comedian you know this is fodder for monologue for decades. the women can't read maps and to can't ask for directions. national geographic is more
concerned than some crappy stand up. they commissioned research because there is a big gap in the finals. the year i went there there were two girls and 50 boys. it is not ideal for the market. they would like to think geography can appeal to anyone. the least popular states, alaska and wyoming were the two girls. they commissioned research and found they were hoping to find an explanation like the questions are biased toward the girls get more nervous. there is a measurable back. for whatever reason geography knowledge between boys and girls, not sure why that is. a doesn't mean the brains are wired differently though that is possible. brain chemistry might be different. there is a good academic research to show we treat boys and girls differently from birth. even as babies we toss the boys around and they experience locations more at a very young age. takes for more.
in a million ways we might be sending key is that boys are interested in exploring places and looking at maps and girls are not. tried to get more girls interested in geography in general. that is the state of the research right now. in the back. >> i could be wrong but it seems to me in schools nowadays geography just doesn't have the same as it did 30 years ago when i was in school. i don't know if you are aware of what can be done to correct that. i think you said 40% of college students didn't know where canada was. >> things like that happen all the time. he is asking about geography education taking a hit in recent years. is it 1,000 degrees in here?
the answer is yes for a couple reasons. the main reason especially in primary and secondary education is the social studies movement happened were different social sciences thought why don't grade school kids get our stuff? they could have economics or civics or whatever social -- the final tradition of teaching geography in front of the plaster which is associated with old-time became that because -- the u. s is the only country in the developed world where a kid can go from preschool to graduating with a master's and never cracked a geography textbook. obviously there are good things out of this revolution and some costs. when we stack up against other countries in geographic literacy we're next to last and national
geographic tests. no developed nations do great. they're surprisingly bad with -- in sweden they can't find the pacific ocean but it is higher than you would like but the u.s. is worse off than japan or most of the european countries in the developed world. gps might make it worse. we don't even open a map anymore. a talking box tells us where to turn and occasionally you see people turning into rivers or on the railroad tracks. we always believe the box. time for a couple more questions. one more question. better than all the other questions put together. who is still confident? you are confident. >> other than going through the library of congress are you able to go through any of the other
ancient maps of other countries? >> did i go through ancient maps? i did go through the london map fair which is the leading place to buy and sell antique maps. good geographical society which is where all the great explorers of the age came back to show their stuff. they financed surge edmund hillary's expedition and robert scott's expedition to the pole and stanley livingston. that was very cool and beautiful maps obviously. another favorite place is the back gallery in the vatican in rome. i don't know if you have been for the vatican. beautiful mural and enormous maps of every region of italy lining the wall. this is where the pope would wait for the audience to see him and the idea is they would be intimidated by the extent of his
earthly realm and heavenly influence. i am a sucker for old maps. new maps are beautiful but to look at a map and be reminded how many people sacrifice or lost their lives over this coastline to be drawn more accurately is a powerful thing. thank you for coming out tonight. i will sign books as long as there are books to be signed. i appreciate you coming. [applause]